John Michael Montgomery - the Concert
I'll be the first to admit that a concert is a great form of entertainment. It
ranks right up there with a good movie, the World Series and the Super Bowl. Unlike
these other events, though, the concert goer should never take anything for granted.
Which includes leaving the arena when the headliner walks off the stage.
With the other three you know when it's over. Third out in the bottom of the
ninth...Final ticks of the fourth quarter...Closing credits start to roll...Over...
Done...No questions asked...
A concert, on the other hand, doesn't always end when the singer, that you just paid
good money to see, 'exits stage left'. This is the most important lesson for concert
goers around the world. That said, let's get on with the concert.
John Michael Montgomery put on one hell of a show on Thursday night (07/31/03) at
the Watertown Arena...One that should not have been missed by country and music fans
Darryl Worley opened the show and wasn't bad. With a few more hits and a more
consistent stage persona my opinion may change. The highlights were the ballads...
'Second Wind', I Miss My Friend' and, the song that everyone was waiting to hear,
'Have You Forgotten', complete with the presentation of the American flag by members
of the 10th Mountain Division. And yes, the song received a well deserved standing
But John Michael was the headliner and the applause he received as he hit the the
stage seemed to pump him up a notch. He ran through a repertoire of his hits during
the evening, from 'Beer and Bones' to 'Til Nothing Comes Between Us' with the ease of
a well polished performer. Montgomery had no problem switching from a foot stomping
number to a tender love ballad, breathing life into them as if he had recorded them
only yesterday instead of over the last ten years.
And I was not disappointed when he did my personal favorite, 'The Little Girl'. I
have always felt that you can gauge the caliber of a singer by the way the live show
goes and how you feel after you hear one of your favorite songs...John Michael is
He closed the show with 'Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)' which had people
on their feet and dancing along with the music...Now, remember when I mentioned that
you take nothing for granted...As soon as Montgomery walked off stage concert goers
went scurrying for the exits. In the concert world that's a big no-no...This ain't no
high school production, people. If the house lights haven't gone up, stay where you
are...The show isn't over.
For those of you who left, you missed John Michael's first encore...A new song called
'Cool' which was, to say the least, cool. A typical country song that tells a story and
leaves you wanting a little bit more. Montgomery leaves the stage again and guess what...
More people left. Hey...No house lights yet...
For those who left after the first encore, here's what you missed...
I've always said that there's a fine line between rock and country. You really can't
have one without the other. From Elvis to Charlie Daniels...From Rod Stewart to Shania
Twain...They all know the general rule. Country and rock go hand in hand...
So John Michael comes out, guitar in hand, and starts playing...and it wasn't your
everyday country solo. After a couple of minutes of Stevie Ray style picking he
breaks into 'The House Is a Rockin'' and started to bring the house down. From there
he cut into 'Sweet Home Alabama' and really started to rock the house.
The extended guitar solo that he performed during the song was comparable or better
than most of the rockers out there. He may not be Page, Hendrix, Stevie Ray or Joe
Perry, but the ending guitar solo, ten plus minutes, ranks in the top ten of concerts
I've attended. And, yes, I've been to quite a few concerts over the years...From
Aerosmith to Santana, Van Hagar to Robert Cray, Jimmy Page to Frank Zappa, Ozzie to
So, to those of you who left early..Shame on you for missing one of the hardest rocking
encores I've ever seen at a country concert.
For those of us who stayed until the house lights came up...Was that one hell of a
show or what?
Just a couple of side notes...You can catch parts of the show on CMT on August 22nd.
Check it out. Secondly, the local newspaper did not run one review of the show. Guess
the entertainment editor had better things to do with his time...
- Richard Blaine
* Richard Blaine's views and opinions do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the staff at Twin-Music.